Ronan Raymond :: 3 months

Nothing puts one in the mood for Christmas like dead leaves composting on the brown ground while raindrops pummel your window. Maybe that’s magical in warmer climates {and, in reality wouldn’t be too bad when paired with 70 degree weather}, but for 10 days before Christmas in the upper Midwest? Nope. This doesn’t cut it.

Mother Nature, I shake my glittery, mistletoe laden, bell ringing, ornament hanging, Christmas song waving, wrapping paper tooled fist at you.

However…this face. This face below…this smiling, wonderful, sweet little face could put anyone right back on the Christmas train track.

Brett & Nikki :: Married

There is so much that goes into planning a wedding. After the excitement of the engagement gives way to magical thoughts about how the wedding day will evolve; will it be a large gathering or an intimate ceremony? Elope? Pinks or yellows? Honeymoon? Where to register? Oh, snap, what kind of shoes? Food, entertainment, location, guest lists, pre-parties, paperwork, thank you notes…it can get a bit overwhelming. Especially when wanting to keep the wedding day, real, honest and…well, really just honestly you.

I know it’s a struggle to find the balance between it all in the beginning, but eventually all the pieces seem to magically fit together.

Creating a day that relishes two people uniting as one is not an easy task; yet I think Nikki and Brett really took it and ran. A Harley themed wedding in the country. Beautiful landscaping. Excellent little touches everywhere. Her brother giving her away and performing the ceremony. His mother doing nearly all the catering, flower growing, sign making, arranging, organizing…being a saint. Their families and friends, present with smiles, cheers and good spirits to celebrate a couple in love.

I was still really pulling for that Ferris wheel though…;-)

****

I pulled onto the gravel road; my tires slapping at the muddy mess the rain had left behind. A nice slow drizzle of a day. The humidity was mildly present, but that seemed to be the least of anyone’s concerns. Anticipation buzzed around his family’s country home as items were carried this way and that. Food was being prepped in the shed, ice poured over cans of beverages, the bar arranged, dogs wandering about aimlessly watching the excitement unfold. Pops of black and bright orange could be seen all over the property. Her yellow Monte came into view and all that could be seen through the foggy window was a beaming smile and a welcoming, waving hand. As the wedding party filtered in, the day slowly became that of preparation to one of celebration.

Last day to order :: TODAY!!!

The holiday deadline has been extended to NOON TODAY!!

Get your Christmas orders in today or wait to place them until after the New Year!!

:-){I will be off Friday, December 19-Monday, January 5, 2015}

Andy, Molly, Conner, Brady :: Family

This family…I love to photograph for so many reasons.

When I get a message from Molly in my inbox, I’m instantly excited. It’s not necessarily because it’s easy {haha, Conner just warmed up to the camera and I think Brady’s coming around to the idea of smiling around me…maybe…}, but more because of the people these two are and because of the two they made. The love and kindness they have for each other is nearly palpable. Family photos can be a stressful time of planning the perfect outfits and creating justĀ the right atmosphere, making sure everyone is ready on time and knows where to be…but when it comes down to it…someone is going to be late, the kids are probably going to cry at some point, pants will get grass stains on them, a dog is going to want to play, a neighbor is going to drive through the yard and a little boy is going to want to play with, not just wear, his cowboy hat.;-)And when that all happens, all the planning, the timing, the illusive perfection fades away and what you get is the bare bones of an awesome family. The shrugs of whatever and the smiles of playing along. ‘Making the best of it’ translates into being real and honest. Being imperfect, having fun, letting go of the ideal and embracing the real.

And this family…oh, this family…they’re real.

Maren & Adam :: Engaged

I’ve thoroughly been enjoying gazing out my office window to see the beautiful snowy scenery these past few days. Oh, and I’ve pretty much been working to classic Christmas movies on repeat, which completely helps the situation {White Christmas, Holiday Inn and What a Wonderful Life being the front runners!}. Puts one immediately in the Christmas spirit…Every once and a while, I catch myself turned toward the window, daydreaming while watching a squirrel run haphazardly around our yard. They have the worst sense of direction, no? Everything seems just a bit prettier when covered in snow. Too bad the forecast is set for high 30s all next week. Enjoy the beauty while it lasts!

Even though I’m generally smitten by whatever season I find myself in, I think winter looks cozy and ready for serious hibernation whereas fall looks so dreamy and full of promise. Especially around sunset. And set in a vineyard. With two gloriously beautiful people…who are hilarious, spunky, sweet, awesome and ridiculously fun to share a glass of wine with. When Maren brought up the idea of having their engagement session take place at Villa Bellezza {not only a beautiful location, but also the place where Adam proposed!} I was whisked away to a fantastical dreamland wine, love and a touch of Italian romance in a Wisconsin riverside town.